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THE US

President Clinton planned to propose raising federal education spending to $29 billion for fiscal 1998, up from $26.3 billion this year, during a news conference. The plan would expand Pell grants and increase funding from $2,700 to $3,000 per student, administration sources said. Money to pay for the proposal would come from shifting funds from a tuition tax-credit plan proposed earlier by Clinton.

Consumer confidence rose 2.6 points in January to a seven-year high of 116.8, the Conference Board reported. It was the third consecutive monthly increase. The confidence index is calculated from a 1985 base of 100 and is derived from a survey of 5,000 households. Participants are asked whether job availability, business conditions, and family incomes will be better or worse six months from now.

US workers' compensation in 1996 rose slightly faster than a year earlier, the Labor Department said. Pay and benefits combined rose 2.9 percent, up from 2.7 percent in 1995, but smaller than the 3 percent gain of 1994. And compensation rose 0.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 1996.

Clinton's pick for transportation secretary, Rodney Slater, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee today. He is all but assured of Senate confirmation, several Republican aides said. But Clinton's pick for labor secretary, Alexis Herman, will likely face a battle. Republicans are concerned about her work on White House political activities and relationship to John Huang, a Democratic fund-raiser under investigation for questionable campaign contributions. She is not yet scheduled for confirmation hearings.

Hilton Head Corp. launched a $6.5 billion hostile bid to acquire ITT Corp., which owns Sheraton Hotels, Madison Square Garden, and the New York Knicks and Rangers sports franchises. A merger would create the world's largest owner of big hotels and casinos.

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